Hey folks, Ray Seaman here from eXp Realty, your Florida land agent, and in this video I want to cover an important question, which is, what do I do if all of a sudden I inherit Florida land? As you can imagine, this is a very common question here in the Sunshine State. Folks who bought land here decades ago have passed on and their kids are successors, all of a sudden find themselves as landowners responsible for property taxes, etc.
I’m going to just talk about what I know from my personal experiences. I am not an attorney and you should definitely seek out an estate planning or a probate attorney to help you with this process. If you need some recommendations, definitely reach out to me.
So what situation you’re in for will depend on how the previous owner owned the land in question, and usually it’s one of three things.
The first one is a tenant in common. It’s the default form of ownership when you buy real estate. It essentially means that once that owner has passed away, you will need to go through the probate process and a probate court will determine who the successor is. Then they will deed that land over to the successor and the successor can do what they want with the land, keep it, sell it, do whatever. That obviously incurs some costs to use a probate attorney, go through the probate process. It also does not matter if the former owner had a will, which spells out who the successors are. You still have to go through the probate process even in that scenario, and that’s a common misconception.
The second most common situation I see is that the successor owned the property jointly with the former owner(s), and they owned it as joint tenants or joint tenants with rights of survivorship. You’ll see that actually spelled out in the deed, and that’s how you know whether you owned it jointly or not. In that case, you won’t have to go through the probate process. All you’ll have to do is file a death certificate with the county clerk where the land is located, and you will take over that the former owner’s interest.
The third scenario that I typically see is a land that is owned in a trust. Because the trust spells out when the trustee dies who the successor trustee or co-trustees are, the ownership of the land is actually not changing. It’s staying with the trust, but there’s just different trustees, which means you don’t have to go through the probate process and incur those costs, which is pretty good.
Owning land in a trust is just a smart move to begin with, by the way.
Those are the three most common situations and what you’re going to have to do. If you need some help figuring this out, please reach out to me and my team here at RaySeaman.com. We’re more than happy to help you. I’ve helped many landowners in Florida go through the probate process and I can connect you with a good probate or estate planning attorney to help you.
Also, if you’re concerned about the cost of doing all this, I’ve got some options for you as well, so reach out to me and my team.